POxy 3522: tetragrammaton

Detail availableor 600dpi image

A user asked us to make available digital images of this fragment. First published in 1983 by P. J. Parsons (Oxyrhynchus Papyri vol. 50), it was produced in the first century AD. The fact that this comes from a conventional papyrus roll makes it more likely to be Jewish than Christian: from very early on, Christians were already using the new technology of the bound codex. The text is Job 42:11-12, from the Septuagint (Hellenistic Greek translations of the holiest Hebrew books).

The fifth line (see detail) contains the tetragrammaton, the four-letter divine name, written in archaic Hebrew script. This is unusual. Septuagint texts routinely substitute the Greek kurios — and copyists who want even normal Hebrew sometimes just leave a blank and get a Hebrew-literate friend to fill in the gap later. “The scribe of 3522 ... wrote the Hebrew continuously and fluently...but apparently without understanding” (PJP).


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